WASHINGTON - The House Banking Committee approved legislation Wednesday that would make it illegal to use checks, credit cards, or other bank-issued instruments to gamble on the Internet.

Committee Chairman Jim Leach, the bill's sponsor, tried to make the bill more palatable to the Clinton administration after postponing a vote earlier this month because of objections by the Treasury and Justice departments.

The Iowa Republican removed a provision that would have required U.S. representatives to the International Monetary Fund and World Bank to oppose loans to countries with a high level of Internet gambling. Also removed was a provision that would have denied access to the federal payment system to any foreign financial firm based in a country with a high level of Internet gambling.

However, a successful amendment by Rep. John E. Sweeney, R-N.Y., could prevent the administration from supporting the revised bill.

The Sweeney amendment would limit the ban to gambling that is illegal under state or federal law. The provision was intended to protect some kinds of off-track betting.


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